By Felisha M. Mina

Training MMA isn’t quite like training at a commercial gym or playing other team sports. As an activity that requires contact, it’s important to consider the role that cleanliness plays – not only during training, but directly before and after as well. Yes, the purpose of the work out is to break a sweat, but we can all agree that getting an armpit full of B.O is the last thing we need while copping a take down.

Most of us know the basics. Deodorant – check. Finger and toe nails clipped – check. Thongs for walking off the mat – got ‘em. That’s all sweet, but sometimes it’s the little things that take away from a good roll. It might be common to secretly not brush your teeth or wear a used t-shirt if you’re going for a run or doing a weights session. But when you’re rolling with someone else for an hour, it’s not exactly a charming experience.

Truth is; very, very few people will be able to tell you straight up if your gloves smell like off-cheese, or that it’s not cool to sneeze or cough your way through jits. So without beating around the bush, here are 6 things to keep tabs on, if you want to be amongst those who have their sparring etiquette down-pat.

1. Chew gum or freshen breath before training
Being huffed on with tuna breath isn’t fun. Best to make sure your mints are in the bin before class starts though.

2. Bring a towel and use it
You’ll definitely perspire, so use the small rests in between sessions to wipe up. It makes a difference for when you return to the mats from a drink break.

4. Spray gloves and shin pads with disinfectant after every class
All hail whoever invented Eucalyptus spray and Glen20! These inexpensive products are available at virtually every supermarket and they’ll free your equipment from bacteria and rotten stenches. Once spraying, the trick to a clean smell is to dry them out, so either leave them out in fresh air or use a blowdryer – whatever you do, don’t leave them in a stuffy place like your car or gym bag.

Another method for maintaining smell-free gloves, is to freeze them in airtight bags overnight.

3. Wear hand wraps that are fresh out of the wash
We’ve noticed that everyone’s pretty good when it comes to wearing clean clothes, but it seems that hand wraps get neglected. Chuck them in the washing machine along with your other training attire and make sure they’re thoroughly dry before using them again (the wetness breeds bacteria). You wouldn’t wear sweaty socks twice, so the same principle applies for your wraps.

5. Wash or sanitise your hands before class
Clean hands play an important role in avoiding sickness or spreading germs. In fact, many diseases and infections are spread by having unwashed hands. For this reason, it’s important to soap your hands before a session. The hand sanitiser lives by the first-aid kit, so use it to keep your grips germ-free.

6. Don’t train if you’re sick
A little sniffle is fine, but it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re in a state of spreading a flu.
Don’t use this as an excuse not to train, though. Coach will catch onto it!